With over 13.16 million people living in Tokyo, space is expensive and rare. Tokyo is often described as a commuter city, and while many turn to public transport to get them around the city, more and more people are taking to their two wheels to travel.
To answer the demand for secure bike storage, GIKEN developed an underground bicycle park. Above ground bicycle parks are unthinkable in Japan's capital city due to the prohibitive price of land. GIKEN describes the ECO Cycle underground parking system to be a no-nuisance scheme for a 'beautiful and habitable urban development'.
The system seeks to eliminate bicycle parking on pavements, which make life harder for everyone walking around the busy city. There is no more clutter up on the streets, and owners have peace of mind knowing that their bike is in a safe place, out of the way of thieves and the bad weather.
From street level, the complex appears to be a pale blue hub, with a runway in front of a door, just tall enough for a bike, a button on the side and an area for members to tap their membership card. Once you have placed your bike, without any of its accessories, onto the runway, you simply need to present your card onto the reader, push a button and the automated system takes care of the rest. It takes less than 15 seconds for your bike to be taken to its slot, and it will be returned to you in about the same amount of time.
On top of being a shelter from bad weather and badly intentioned people, the ECO Cycle is, according to the developer, completely safe in the instances of an earthquake - a regular occurrence in that part of the world.